Local Plan 'saves us from big developments'

PUBLISHED: 09:00 22 March 2015

Archant

Budleigh could get more protection from unwanted housing developments - despite 'vague' wording in a revised blueprint for the future of the town.

East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) draft Local Plan, which previously set out development across the area until 2026, had allocated 110 homes for the parish, writes Sean Keywood.

This had pleased councillors, as with 48 homes already approved for Greenway Lane, and the go-ahead given for 59 dwellings on land south of the B3178, they thought the town’s allocation was already largely taken care of.

However, a new version of the plan - which will now run until 2031 - deletes the reference to 110 homes and replaces it with the phrase ‘modest housing development’.

Despite this change, Councillor Alan Dent, a district representative and chairman of Budleigh Town Council’s planning committee, thinks the town should still be safe from applications. He believes the revised Local Plan would give planners greater powers to reject applications for countryside outside of the town’s built-up area boundary – the only plausible location for major development.

Cllr Dent said: “Once the Local Plan is published, it gives us the strength to say ‘no home development outside the built up area boundary’, and that’s it. So if a developer came back with an application for a field outside the built-up area boundary, we would have the strength to turn them down.”

The Otter Valley Association, which campaigns on planning matters, is still going through the new draft and considering its full response, but had initial concerns about the wording.

Chairman Roger Saunders said: “We are worried because it is vague, more than anything else. If it follows the built-up area boundary then it should be OK, as most of the big developments we complain about are outside that. We would like to see something a bit more specific.”

The new plan will be considered by EDDC on Monday.

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